Ethics in Medicine : the Relationship Between Law and Medical Ethics:

1271 WordsJul 12, 20126 Pages
The essay will discuss the ETHICS IN MEDICINE : The Relationship Between Law and Medical Ethics: Dispute and Legal Issues: A 32 year old woman was admitted to the Trauma Intensive Care Unit following a motor vehicle accident; she had multiple injuries and fractures, with several complications which continued to develop over the first couple of weeks. The patient rapidly developed Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, was on a ventilator, and was continuously sedated. Shortly after the patient's admission, her parents were contacted and remained vigilant at her bedside. The parents reported that the patient was one month away from having her divorce finalized. The patient's husband was reportedly physically and emotionally abusive to her…show more content…
With the husband thus removed as her surrogate decision-maker, it appears the patient's parents would become the highest level class of surrogate decision-maker and could provide informed consent for her care if the patient is unable to do so. • Even if the patient's husband remains as her legal surrogate decision-maker, his decisions on the patient's behalf are constrained by legally imposed standards. First, a surrogate is legally required to provide "substituted judgment" on behalf of the patient. This means that the surrogate must act in accordance with the patient's wishes. If substituted judgment isn't possible (i.e., unknown what the patient would want under the current medical circumstances), then the law requires the surrogate to act in the patient's "best interests." Since the medical team has significant input about what would medically be in the patient's interest, a decision by a surrogate which doesn't adhere to this standard should not be automatically followed and may need to be reviewed by the institutional ethics committee, risk management, or legal counsel. • The patient's husband may be willing to waive his surrogate decision-maker role to his estranged wife. If this occurs, then he would agree to remove himself from the list of potential surrogate decision-makers and the next highest
Open Document